If a dog is lucky enough to make it through some all-important endurance and agility training, it can become a police dog! Or a “K9” for short. Which means they’re no longer just a pet – they’re an employee. … in a sense. But what do they get out of it?
Do police dogs get paid as a human officer would? Obviously not. Police dogs do not get a salary. But that’s not all there is to it.
So today, we’ll be looking at just what the role of a police dog entails and what benefits the job has for them.
What Does A Police Dog’s Job Involve?
Dogs are known for their keen sense of smell, agility, and tracking abilities. These skills (found in hunting breeds popular among police such as German Shepherds) make them great allies when it comes to Search & Rescue operations or detection of drugs and explosives.
But there are other, less obvious, benefits of having a K9 around. For example, a dog is able to squeeze into smaller spaces than a human can.
This means they’re excellent at finding people lost in tight spaces like ravines or traces of suspect substances hidden in sites that are hard to traverse. That’s a lot of work for someone who doesn’t get paid!
Do Police Dogs Enjoy Their Job Even If They Don’t Get Paid?
Why Being A K9 Suits A Dog’s Interests So Well
Dogs are curious, they are problem solvers, and they are intelligent. As long as they’re being treated well, loved, and not overworked, they will enjoy carrying out tasks.
And many of their work tasks are just things that dogs like (and have been bred) to do! This, essentially, is their pay.
On the force, they get to run, chase, sniff, bite and enjoy a life that’s probably more stimulating than that of normal pets. And K9s aren’t the only working dogs that this applies to.
Sheepdogs, for example, are working dogs too, and perform many of the same duties as K9s. Just as a police dog might be tasked with finding a missing person or stowaway, sheepdogs track down lost or escaped sheep, alert the farmer, and help herd them home.
The list of things a police dog can do is longer than that of a sheep dog. But thankfully, most police dogs aren’t trained in every single task. Some dogs, for instance, will have bomb detection as their specialty.
A Respected Member Of The Team
While on the force, police dogs are treated with care and respect. This extends even to (unfortunate but rare) cases in which a dog is killed. If a police dog dies in the line of duty, they are granted ‘the same honors as their human partners’.
To learn more about police dog burial practices, take a look at this fascinating document on “The Rocky Protocol”.
And if a dog makes a mistake, the responsibility is placed on the handler, not the dog. This respects the fact that, while the dog is valued, its limited capacity for reasoning (compared to that of a paid human) is respected.
But what about money? Well, while a dog can’t exactly do anything itself with a salary, its handler certainly can.
Do Police Dogs Get Paid In The US?
Police dogs are relatively popular in the US, with the total number of K9s last decade being estimated at 50,000! However, funding for their place on the force isn’t quite as sufficient as you’d think.
In fact, according to the National Police Dog Foundation, covering officers’ salaries leaves less than 20% of a police dep’s total budget to pay for other expenses. Because of this, the dogs are often fed, trained, and bought in the first place, thanks to charitable donations.
But that doesn’t mean the police dog handlers are working for free! And your average salary for police dog handling in the US seems to be in the region of $45000. Not a bad paycheck for spending time with a furry friend!
Meanwhile, the dogs themselves simply get to enjoy the “fun” parts of police work. They get to spend time with their humans and solve problems without having to worry about the moral conundrums of law enforcement or paperwork stress!
They are paid, essentially, with a life that is safe, fun, and stimulating. All three of these things matter much more to an animal than money.
Do Police Dogs Get Paid In The UK?
With over 2,500 police dogs “employed” in the UK, they play a pivotal role in things like sniffing out drugs or locating missing people. And their hard work doesn’t go unrewarded!
Back in 2013, the Nottinghamshire Police scheme announced that retired police dogs in the area would now be given canine pension plans! Which is a great way to pay an animal indirectly.
This made England the first country ever to officially commit to financially looking after retired police dogs. A well-earned benefit indeed.
The scheme offered dogs up to £1,500 per month to cover costs such as vet bills, which is a fantastic idea if you ask us. After all, police officers get pensions, and their dogs are as much part of the force as they are!
And just like human officers, female police dogs are given leave from work when pregnant or nursing pups. Some dogs might not even return to the force after this, in fact. Overall, it’s a pretty easy life.
A Noble Career
A healthy, hard-working police dog can stay in the role for a decade. That’s longer than most of us will spend in our first jobs! And without being paid too!
And thanks to the regular exercise and challenge that the job offers, they’re in with a good chance of living long, healthy lives. So do police dogs get paid? No. But they don’t walk away empty-handed.
Purrfect n’ Pawesome is the brainchild of Amanda, who has been into researching and writing about pets to help other pet parents in nurturing their adorable pets. Currently, she runs Purrfect n’ Pawesome along with her team of experienced and dedicated pet experts. Along with being an awesome writer and entrepreneur, Amanda is a cat mom to two innocently spoiled cats, Balanca and Scruffy.
She has been writing about pet care and nurturing and wants to share her readers’ experiences, learnings, and knowledge.
Over the years, she had the opportunity to work with various pet owners having multiple breeds, and that exposure gave her experience and the lessons of a lifetime.
Her family, her entire universe revolves around her two cats, who give her endless support and inspiration to move ahead with her objectives in life. Amanda is a live example of a balanced approach to all parenthood questions we all face in life.